It’s been eight years since Maxwell’s last album “Now” hit shelves and two years since the new album was initially announced.
Playing at a surprisingly short 37 minutes, his latest album, “BLACKsummers’night,” still manages to showcase growth from his previous albums.
With beginnings in the ‘80s and early ’90s, Maxwell is considered one of a group of artists that brought mainstream attention to the neo-soul movement.
Debuting at a time when R&B and hip-hop were beginning to merge and sing about “macho” things, Maxwell brought an alternative to audiences with a retro, sensual sound, “BLACKsummers’night” keeps that old feel alive.
Known for his slow ballads, “BLACKsummers’night” is filled with more upbeat songs than previous albums. “Cold” and “Bad Habits” have a nice head-bobbing groove, while tracks like “Pretty Wings” and “Stop the World” remind you why Maxwell sings love songs. He’s good at them.
Keeping the music simple with horns, bass, guitars and piano makes the music feel more real and organic, a nice compliment to his vocal abilities.
Maxwell braves walking down the beaten path when most artists want to reinvent themselves continuously.
With deep bass lines and buttery, smooth falsettos “BLACKsummers’night” is similar enough to not upset die-hard fans, but different enough to sound new.
What shines the most is his journey to a more experienced, musical poet.
Maxwell has said he took time to live his life, grow and learn to better fill his music with real emotions, and it shows.
This is where the real draw to the album is. He never feels like someone singing another person’s words.
It’s his ability to convey the feelings of the song that make the album fresh.
The only thing that really brings the album down is it feels like it ends too soon.
Planned as the first part of a trilogy, “BLACKsummers’night” is enough to whet the appetite of every fan who has been waiting for a new release.
And with two more on the way, it’s only going to get better.